International competition beckons for Belvoir Tri Club member Karl Hunt after qualifying for the GB Age Group Sprint team going to the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, at the end of August.
He qualified after his result at Nottingham Big Triathlon put him in 16th place on the qualifiers list for his age group. The race comprised a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
In addition to the standard and sprint distance age group races, the 2014 TransCanada Corp World Triathlon Grand Final will showcase elite and paratriathlon races, as well as an aquathlon, under-23, junior and mixed relay world championships, offering amateur athletes the chance to compete in the same venue as the world’s elite athletes.
Karl only took up triathlon in December 2012 after a colleague convinced him to enter the Blenheim Sprint event in June the following year. As a strong cyclist and keen runner, he knew that the swim would be the challenge.
After his first attempt at freestyle in The Meres leisure centre pool only lasted 40 metres, he enlisted local triathlon coach and GB age grouper Stefan Lawrence (www.tri-sl-training.com) to get him up to speed.
Karl’s first triathlon was the David Lloyd Sprint at Lincoln the following April. He said: “I knew then that this was a sport I could really fall in love with. It’s just so exciting whilst being one of the hardest sporting events I’ve ever done.”
His showing at the World Triathlon Grand Final last year in London, in the Open category, sealed his desire to race for Great Britain.
Karl said: “There aren’t many sports where you can represent your country as an amateur and, after cheering on all my fellow Brits in the Age Group race the same weekend, I set my sights on being part of that select group.
“I know that I couldn’t have got as far as I have in such a short space of time without Stefan’s excellent coaching and support.”
Karl’s love of triathlon does not end with racing, but extends to being part of the committee of the Belvoir Tri Club, based in Grantham. He said: “I realised that I’d missed out on so much by putting off triathlon until my late 30s because I couldn’t swim, and I see my involvement in the club as being able to give something back to a sport which has given me so much.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to represent my country and I want to be able to help others achieve the same goal. My GB kit arrived in the post yesterday and the grin still hasn’t left my face.”
Belvoir Tri Club, supported by tri-sl-training.com, has a busy training schedule with more sessions in the pipeline following a summer of racing. They meet on Mondays at 6am for a coached swim session, and regularly send members up to Gorse Lane for Witham Wheelers’ 10-mile time trials on a Tuesday night.
They also have a regular open water swimming session on a Wednesday evening. A Friday non-coached swim session at 9pm rounds off the week, with a social road ride meeting at The Meres at 9am on Sundays.
The club is seeing somewhat of a resurgence at the moment with membership having more than doubled to 37 in the last month.
Karl said: “Now is a great time to get involved in Belvoir Tri Club. There is such a buzz to the club and I’m excited to see where we can take it in the coming months.”
For more information, find the club on Facebook or email email@example.com